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Review: Waking Olivia by Elizabeth O'Roark

hot cover of "Waking Olivia" by Elizabeth O'Roark

Fans of the forbidden romance will go crazy for this love story between a college runner and her young, handsome coach. Olivia has been kicked out of her D1 school and her second chance at a new school is on really shaky ground. She has to keep her shit together or she'll lose everything. If she can do that she can be the star she's meant to be and bring the school its first championship. Too bad she has a terrible attitude. Will is a young man who has abandoned his own dreams to help his mother keep their family farm. Of course, Will and Olivia hate each other at first sight, despite (or because of) them both being the prettiest thing the other has ever seen. (Seriously, we're told how pretty they are in basically every chapter.) In typical New Adult fashion, Olivia's past is both tragic and buried. She often wakes up in the middle of nowhere, having gotten up and run in her sleep during an horrific nightmare. Once Will realizes what's going on with her, he wants to help. Guess what? They fall in love. Deeply forbidden love. Oh, and he has a girlfriend, who also works at the college. There's a lot they (and the readers) have to get through before they can actually be together. Olivia is a tough pill to swallow, especially at the beginning. She hates everything and everyone and has no time for anything beyond the small world she's built for herself. Of course her past understandably makes her super damaged, insecure, and distrustful. I just wanted to like her a little more, and the first chapters were hard to get through. What comes after was worth it, though. There's a lot of oh-no-we-can't and I'm-staying-away-for-your-own-good that becomes kind of tedious. The ending is also super fast and a bit wonky. A major threat comes out of nowhere, and is resolved almost as quickly as it's brought up. I wish that particular plot point had been woven in throughout more of the story, or just left out altogether. Honestly, despite my few objections, I liked a lot about this book. It has nearly everything you want from the genre, plus a little more. The sleep issue was a unique element, and I liked Olivia's intense and real focus on her running. Will's family is complex and well portrayed (I sort of found myself rooting for his brother), as are some of the other girls on the running team. The writing is clean and straight forward. It's a really quick read. 3 1/2 stars *I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

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